PhD Studentship: SONICOM

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: London, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 31 Mar 2021

We have a full scholarship available for a PhD student to work within the Audio Experience Design team at the Dyson School of Design Engineering (Imperial College London). The student’s main supervisor will be Lorenzo Picinali, with the external contribution/supervision of Michele Geronazzo from the University of Udine.

This PhD programme will contribute to the ecosystem created by the SONICOM FET EU-Funded project, which aims at transforming auditory-based social interaction and communication in AR/VR ( ).

The research will focus on exploring and assessing training/accommodation to synthetic localisation cues within Augmented Reality (AR) scenarios and tasks. Head-related transfer functions (HRTFs) capture the direction-dependant way that sound interacts with the head and torso. In virtual/augmented audio systems, which aim to emulate these effects, non-individualized, generic HRTFs are typically used leading to an inaccurate perception of virtual sound location. Training has the potential to exploit the brain’s ability to adapt to these unfamiliar cues. Research has been done looking at how such training can improve localisation when using non-individualised or altered HRTFs within real (e.g. ) and virtual (e.g. ) environments and tasks.

This project aims at taking this further by exploring spatial auditory training within acoustic AR contexts, looking at the blending of real and virtual acoustic sources and features, exploring and assessing the potential benefits of various training approaches, tasks and mechanisms, and ultimately contributing to the advancement of our understanding of multimodal calibration in spatial auditory perception.

We are looking for candidates with a strong technical background in computer science and statistical analysis – experience with artificial intelligence and machine learning is very desirable.

In addition, we are seeking candidates with a good understanding of acoustics and digital signal processing techniques.

Experience with the following would be an advantage:

  • Development of immersive VR/AR applications
  • Running perceptual evaluations with human participants
  • Research experiments in psychoacoustics and hearing science

The planned starting date is October 2021, and funding will be available to cover tuition fees and living expenses for 42 months (6 additional unfunded months will be available for writing up the final dissertation). The stipend will be in line with UKRI guidelines:

Please note: as this scholarship covers UK Home tuition fees only, it is open solely to eligible UK appplicants. If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss applicant you might still qualify for this scholarship, but please check carefully eligibility criteria listed on the following page before applying:

Details of Imperial College academic entry requirements and English language qualifications for postgraduate research programmes can be found following this link:

Due to the highly competitive nature of our degree programmes, we are looking for candidates who have achieved a minimum of a 2:1 at both undergraduate and Master’s level, and preferably a 1st class degree.

You can apply to this scholarship by following the instructions at this link:  

If you have any questions on the research and scholarship, please do not hesitate to contact Lorenzo Picinali ( ).

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